Manasara (English translation)

by Prasanna Kumar Acharya | 1933 | 201,051 words

This page describes “the doorways (dvara-sthana)” which is Chapter 38 of the Manasara (English translation): an encyclopedic work dealing with the science of Indian architecture and sculptures. The Manasara was originaly written in Sanskrit (in roughly 10,000 verses) and dates to the 5th century A.D. or earlier.

Chapter 38 - The doorways (dvāra-sthāna)

1. The situation and the characteristic features of the doorways [viz., dvāra-sthāna-lakṣaṇa] will be described now.

2-4. In all kinds of temples of the gods, and the dwelling houses of the Brahmans and other castes, in (all kinds of) palaces (harmya) of the kings, and in the courts (prākāra), and pavilions (maṇḍapa) four main doors should be constructed on the four sides, and there may be as many smaller (minor) doors as one likes.

5. In the region of the corridor (lit., interspace) doors should be opened at the middle.

6. Doors should be constructed suitably at (the middle of) the walls; there is no restriction (hard and fast rules, lit., no defects) about it.

7. Doors (i.e., dormer-windows) should be suitably opened at the north-east of the roof (pracchādana) of an edifice (harmya).

8. The water-door (or gutter) should be suitably constructed at the bottom of the wall.

9-10. In the main building (mukhya quarter?) the entrance door together with two panels (kavāṭa) should be constructed in the south; a straight line should be drawn exactly across the middle, and at the bottom of that should be constructed (the door).

11. Of (the temples and the dwelling houses of) gods and men the great (entrance) door should be furnished with two panels.

12. The main doors should, be furnished with symmetrical steps (in the front).

13. In this way, the expert (architect) should construct the doors of the edifices of the gods and others.

14. The doorways in all kinds of civil (lit., human) buildings are described (below).

15-17. The length and breadth of a house should be divided into nine parts (each; and) the great doors at the Mahendra quarter (in the east) of an edifice should be constructed (at the middle one of these parts); as an alternative, the (entrance) door may be constructed on the left of the middle line.

18-19. The smaller doors with lattice work should be constructed at the Īśa, Parjanya, Aditi, Udita, Jayanta, or Mṛga quarter.[1]

20-21. The large gate should be constructed in the south at the Gṛhakṣata quarter of the Dvāraśālā (first) gate-house[2]; as an alternative, this door may be constructed on the left of the middle line.

22-23. The small doors, etc., (i.e., including windows) should be constructed as before at the Vitatha, Pūṣan, Pāvaka (Agni), Antarikṣa, Mṛga, or Satyaka quarter.

24-25. The large gate should be constructed in the west on the left of the middle line in the Puṣpadanta quarter of the Dvāraharmya (second) gatehouse.

26-28. The smaller doors and those (latticed) windows should be constructed at the Sugriva, or the Dauvārika quarter, or in the southwest, at the Mṛga Bhṛṅgarāja, and Gandharva quarters, or in the north-west.

29-30. Of the Dvārasālā (first) gatehouse the main door should be constructed in the north at the Bhallāṭa quarter, or on the left of the middle line across the length.

31-32. The smaller doors should be constructed at the Mukhya, or the Nāga quarter, or in the north-west, or the Roga, Śeṣa, or Asura quarter.

33. The four (corner) doors, namely, the Īśāna (north-east), etc., may be conveniently constructed in the four directions.

34-35. In all kinds of kitchens, the front (main) door should be constructed at the middle of the front side, but according to some (such) doors may be constructed on the left of the middle line.

36-38. Two, four, six, eight, ten, or twelve (large) latticed windows together with smaller lattice-work should be constructed at the region below the arcitrave (or beam, uttara)[3] for the upward passage (of the kitchen smoke).

39. The latticed doors may be opened at the middle or on the left side of the middle line.

40. The latticed doors as well as doors in rows may be constructed (for the kitchen).

41. A pair of lattices should be constructed in the kitchen of the gods (i.e,, refectory).

42. The doorways opened for the upward passage (of the kitchen smoke) may be, otherwise, constructed at the south-west or the north-east.

43-44. The lattices may be otherwise opened at the back of all houses as well as the central courtyard (raṅga); (in such cases) the lattices should not be constructed at the middle, but on the left side of the middle line.

45. The wise (architect) should construct the latticed doors in place of (lit., like) the minor doors stated above.

46-49. In human (civil) dwellings the (entrance) door should be constructed at one of the nine parts in the length of the edifice, between the four parts on the left and five parts on the right.

50-54. In the houses of the Brahmans and the kings (Kṣatriyas) the entrance door should be constructed on the left of the middle line across the length (of the house); similarly doors should be constructed in the houses of other people also; but in the edifice (temple) of the gods, the doors should be constructed at the middle of the house, (i.e., not on the left of the middle line across the length).[4]

Thus in the Mānasāra, the science of architecture, the thirty-eighth chapter, entitled: “The doorways.”

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

For the precise position of these quarters see the diagrams given under chapter VII.

[2]:

See chapter XXXIII.

[3]:

See the writer’s Dictionary, page 79.

[4]:

In temples, the front doors are constructed just at the middle of the front wall so that a full view of the deity in the interior may be received by a visitor from the outside. But in residential buildings, such openness was not desired, owing to, perhaps, the eastern seclusion; and, therefore, the doors were constructed on either side of the middle line across the front.

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